December 8, 2010

Fish: Day Two and A Dose of Homeschooling Reality

Are your tired of crafting, I mean, creating? (It helps me to frame it as creating. More palatable.) Don't be. The creating ideas are just flying out of the internet in my general direction.

Today's project centered around the ever popular and bizarre puffer fish. Actually, a porcupine fish, but of the puffer family.

First we read Puffer's Surprise by Barbara Gaines Winkelman. And we loved it. Definitely one of our favorites lately.

Then we made our own puffer fish out of a paper plate. Instructions can be found here.

The project started out typically enough. I started pulling out the craft supplies and my children leaped and shrieked for joy. I showed them the picture online of the finished project and then they started coloring their spines.

Some of these pics highlight the difficulties of homeschooling with a two year old. He's charming but loud. And demanding.
My finished fish. Yes, I am proud of it.

Eli pulling every single crayon out and piling them on a plate. There are worse things. Like when he tries to pile them on the floor. A delicate balance between not letting him get away with creating major disasters and being able to help the other children.
Notice that in the following picture Miriam is working alone. No siblings about anywhere. Here's where the dose of homeschooling reality comes in.

For whatever reason, and I really don't know the reasons, Cowen and Emeline were excessively tired this morning. Cowen claims Eli climbed into his bed and woke him up by hitting him with a truck. That might be so. Transitioning Eli to a big boy bed has had its rough patches.

Regardless, Cowen and Emeline started to cry hysterically about ten minutes into the puffer project because they couldn't get the glue stick to glue adequately. Then I compounded matters by telling Cowen I wouldn't help him because he knows how to glue. When Cowen threw himself on the ground and proceeded into full melt-down mode, I told him it was time for a short nap and he could finish the project when he woke up.

Then he threw the glue stick at the wall.

Then I took a moment to reflect on WHY I thought it was so important to spend such lovely, quality time with my children.

Then I took Cowen downstairs and put him to bed.

He fell asleep in precisely 30 seconds and woke up cheerful and ready to finish his project.

Sometimes homeschool has to flex and adjust to our children in suprising and completely unplanned ways.

That is a reality of homeschool.

(And for those of you charming mothers whose children would never throw glue at the wall, I congratulate you. But I've been a mother long enough to realize you don't exist. You or your children.)

The children ended up loving the project. We printed the spines on regular paper and then colored them. You can leave them white, but my children didn't want to and after a moment's reflection, I didn't want to either. Then we glued the spines to cardstock and cut them out. For younger kids who are perfectionists, you might have to help cut out. Cowen wanted them to look perfect but couldn't do it himself. Emeline didn't care--she just likes to use scissors. The cardstock helped the spines stick out.

Then we used a glue stick to glue the spines on. Cowen and Miriam wanted them to stick out like mine. Emeline didn't care. She was just happy to use glue.

PS I put Emeline and Eli to bed as well as Cowen, so Miriam and I had an unexpected 90 minutes with each other. I read my scriptures, she finished Mr. Popper's Penguins (yes I made her read it and yes she loved it), we had baptism prep and then she drew pictures and I did research for a book I'm working on (yes I'm an aspiring author--isn't everyone??). It was lovely.

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